"At some point in the not-too-distant future, biotechnology is going to give the designers the biggest set of complex new materials and tools they have ever had the opportunity to work with," observes Amy Congdon, a graduate from Central Saint Martins with an MA in Textile Futures who is now pursuing a PhD at Textile Futures Research Centre; the Centre is part of the University Of The Arts London (UAL), a community of practice-based, design-led researchers all tackling the same issue: how can materials and textiles enable a more sustainable future? Congdon's "Biological Atelier" project explored some of the implications of new materials that are "living" and how areas like tissue-engineering will impact textile skills such as embroidery.
...manipulate our bodies to grow jewelry for the season?
...forgo cosmetic surgery in favor of tissue that is engineered and designed to be disposable?
...embellish the temporary graft-tissue with gemstones?
...drape ourselves in cross-species fur and adorn ourselves with ethically-grown ivory?
As the role of the fashion and accessories designer change, blurring with that of artist with craftsman with scientist, what will fashion look like in the biotechnological future of, say, 2080?
These images are from Congdon's "Bio Nouveau" collection for Fall/Winter 2082, an era when couture pieces are tissue-engineered until the next fad or trend emerges, at which time they are disposed of.
The Futurenetics fashion tribe seeks to temper the cutting edge of high-tech with some good ole-fashioned, low tech humanity. Using fashion as a vehicle to explore how research will impact our daily lives does a great service to the rest of us by helping to make it more understandable and therefore less frightening. And pretty fabulous, judging by Amy Congdon's capsule collection.
Here's the PODCAST I recorded about this FUTURENETICS fashion collection for 2082:
Music: "The Complex" by Kevin MacLeod, Incompetech.com
I thought this awesome biology-inspired pendant by Michelle Davis, a professional member of the Association of Medical Illustrators, would be perfect for a Futurenetics fashionista.
It's of the tiny, bony apparatus in the inner ear, the cochlea, which has three arching & semicircular canals to control our balance and a seashell-like part for hearing. The really cool thing about this anatomically-correct and actual-size piece is that it's 3D printed - in either sterling silver or gold-plated stainless steel.
- Lesley Scott